3 Ways You Can Injure Yourself in Your Sleep

Ah, refreshing sleep. At least it’s supposed to be refreshing. Do you ever wake up after a full night of sleep feeling exhausted and riddled with aches and pains? It turns out that many of those muscle aches and bone pains we complain about during the day are caused by injuries we sustain during the night.

Here are three ways that can happen:

The honeymoon’s not over

So, you love to cuddle, even when you’re sleeping. As romantic as that is, it could be causing a few problems.

In an interview with Care2, Dr. Kim L. Stearns, orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, spoke about a condition called “honeymoon palsy.” Some people call it “Saturday night palsy.”

It happens when you sleep with one arm around or under someone for a long period of time.

“The weight can compress a nerve in your arm causing temporary numbness or paralysis from the pressure,” said Stearns. “It can be transient, but I’ve seen where it can take weeks or even longer for function to return.”

Sterns suggests making an appointment with your doctor if you don’t have some improvement within a few hours.

If you’re sleeping with your head on someone else’s arm or shoulder, that could also lead to head and neck pain. That means that romantic cuddle could leave you both hurting.

Your pillow is pooped out

“The most common injury related to bad sleep is neck pain,” according to Stearns. He explained that if you don’t have good pillow support, you can have soft tissue injuries and ligament issues. The muscles and vertebrae of the neck have to support the weight of the head. Without proper support, you stretch the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. That’s why you wake up with a stiff or sore neck.

“Muscular pain at the base of the skull, neck, and top of shoulders are often related to poor sleep position and a poor pillow. The best kind of pillow is a contoured or memory foam pillow that offers support to the head and neck,” said Stearns.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that if you fold your pillow in half, and it stays that way, it’s time for a new one. Other clues are lumpiness or if you have to keep fluffing it up for support. A two-year-old pillow is probably past its prime and should be replaced.

You’ve got a case of mattress madness

It’s amazing how adaptable people can be. That comfy mattress doesn’t go bad overnight, so you might not notice. Slowly, but surely, though, you’re wearing it out. Not only is the mattress aging, but so are you. As your body changes, you may need a different level of support.

According to the Better Sleep Council, these are signs that you might need a new mattress:

  • Morning stiffness, numbness, aches, and pains
  • You got a full night’s sleep, but you’re still tired
  • You slept in a different bed and had a better night’s sleep than you do in your own bed
  • Your mattress sags or has visible tears, rips, holes, stains, or other damage
  • Your mattress is at least seven years old

Aside from a good mattress, you also need to pay attention to your sleep posture.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, you should strive to keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned.

Back sleepers can use a small pillow behind the knees to reduce stress on the spine. Side sleepers can use a firm pillow between the knees to stop the upper leg from pulling the spine out of alignment and reduce back stress. Knees should be pulled up slightly toward the chest. Stomach sleepers should sleep with a flat pillow or no pillow. A flat pillow under the stomach can also help align the spine.

The bottom line is that what happens during sleep affects our overall health. Every so often, it’s worth evaluating your mattress, pillow, and sleep positioning to see if there’s room for improvement.

More Bedtime Stories:
What’s the Best Sleep Position?

What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
8 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed 

Image Credit: Thinkstock


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Justyna L.
Justyna L2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Thank you

Peggy B.
Peggy B2 years ago


natasha salgado
Past Member 2 years ago

I'm just grateful 4 any sleep i get since i sleep very lil. thanks

Sam Dyson
Past Member 2 years ago


Ruth S.
Ruth S2 years ago